This might sound a bit harsh, but my homestead is not a theme park, petting zoo, or quaint local tourist spot. It’s my home. Although I encourage people to ask me questions and I’m happy to grant tours on my own terms, wandering around without consent is never okay. It just isn’t.
This wasn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened quite a few times before. Let’s chat a bit about why this isn’t okay behavior…
Homestead Livestock Security
As I mentioned, we have chicks running around that could easily fall into danger with unexpected visitors, but there’s so much more. A big issue is bio security. We are a natural/organic/holistic homestead and we take quarantine and bio security very seriously. There are some really bad diseases that can kill off bird flocks and goat herds. That may seem like a dramatic statement, but it’s the truth.
“Biosecurity means doing everything you can to reduce the chances of an infectious disease being carried onto your farm by people, animals, equipment, or vehicles. It also means doing everything you can to reduce the chance of disease leaving your farm. Healthy herds and flocks contribute to the health of U.S. animal agriculture as a whole. Farm visitors can pose a risk, particularly if they have been on other farms with animals or have recently been in other countries with diseases exotic to the United States. Losses from foreign animal disease outbreaks can also hit close to home with animal deaths, reduced productivity, as well as treatment, labor, and management costs and the loss of valuable genetic material from certain animals.” United States Department of Agriculture, Safeguarding American Agriculture
The USDA even goes so far to say you should restrict access to your property and your livestock or
poultry, and post a sign. Have one area where visitors can enter. Do not allow visitors near livestock or poultry unless absolutely necessary, and then make sure visitors have clean footwear and clothes. This is actually a very serious issue that goes well beyond the farm being visited. It actually impacts the agricultural system as a whole.
This is also why we can’t take your animals. I’ve heard it time and time again; you already have chickens, so can you take my four as well? No. No I cannot. My friend Amy at A Farmish Kind of Life summed it up beautifully in her article 7 Reasons You Can’t Rehome Your Pet At My Farm.
Don’t even get me started on people feeding my poultry things they aren’t suppose to have. Or ripping up my lawn to feed the goats. Not cool.
While 99.9% of the people that stop by uninvited are merely interested in our lifestyle or want to show their kiddos and grand-kiddos real live farm animals (as was the case today), there is still the .1% to worry about. How do I know you aren’t some weirdo? Are you a serial killer? Did I just interrupt a robbery when I caught you in my yard? The answer is I don’t know. That’s scary. I have a husband who would die to protect us all, but I run this homestead while he works outside of the home. It scares the (excuse the language) shit out of me when I catch you in the side yard talking to my children.
In addition to my being a homesteader that needs to keep my livestock safe, I’m a mom who needs to keep my family safe. When you step foot on my property without my consent or knowledge, you are putting my family in danger (whether it’s your intent or not).
Yeah, theft of our tools would really put a cramp in my day/week/month, but that’s not the home security I speak of. Here’s something a lot of people don’t consider. I live on a residential homestead with regular old residential insurance. If one of my animals injured you or if you slipped on goat manure and busted your head, guess who’s paying for that? Me.
Theme parks, petting zoos, and tourist destinations have special insurance to protect you from yourself. Safety measures have been put in place to keep people from being harmed. Me? I have garden rakes laying on the ground with prong-side up. I am the only person who risks getting hit in the face like a cartoon comedy sketch thankfully.
Please let me still do homestead outreach…
As of right now, we have cancelled this autumn’s farm tour. I am also working on locations to hold classes off site. I want to promote this lifestyle, but I need to consider what impact it has on my homestead. If anyone has suggestions, please share in the comments below.
And hey, it’s good to know I’m not alone. My friend Carrissa from “down the road a bit” has dealt with it herself. One unexpected visitor could have lost his head. I know I wouldn’t cross her livestock guardian dog. You can read about her visitor violations at Feather and Scale Farm.